Welcome to my blog. Over the years that I have been stamping and paper crafting, I have so often been inspired by the ideas on other sites and blogs. I hope I can pay that back in some measure with my own. (In between laughs -- or cackles as my son calls it!)

December 30, 2012

Yummy Strawberries

Before Christmas, I was invited to my neighbor's house for dinner.  Sandra, who is a marvelous hostess, served a delicious meal including steak, lobster tail, and parmesan flan.  It was superb and I needed a thank-you card that really conveyed my appreciation.  I think I found it with this one!

This well-satisfied chubby fella is from the Strawberry Kisses "Yum" set.  Doesn't he look like he could just burst with delight?

After stamping the image in black, I colored it with my colored pencils.  I used Tulip snow and glitter on the whipped cream sections.  While this was drying, I prepared the card base.  I started with a 5 inch square folded white base.  I added a layer of cocoa brown, then strawberry pink gingham paper, and then a square of brown gingham to serve as the mat for the image.

I then punched three holes in the upper right corner of the main image and tied small gingham ribbons in pink and tan.  This was then mounted on to the prepared card base with dimensionals.  (Tip:  using dimensionals allows for a smoother layer as it gives room for the ribbon knots.)

I hope that she enjoys this card as much as I enjoyed my evening with them!

December 23, 2012

Looking back at a year of Crafter's Companion designs

Hello!  As we near the end of 2012, I wanted to take a look back at the designs I had done as part of my year on the Crafter's Companion Design Team.

We were asked to pick one of our favorite posts to highlight.  I think the card below, with the stippled rolling hills in earthy colors, and that beautiful asymmetrical pine is it.  Why?  Well, first the image is dramatic and striking, and perfect for heat embossing.  And, the stippling technique is so easy and gives a real wow factor.  Third, this is one of my favorite color palettes.  And finally, it can be used for any gender - and sometimes I struggle with masculine cards.

So here's for a second look at my Pine Tree and Misty Hills card, originally posted in September.  The image is from Sheena's Pinescape set.

The Design Team coordinators also picked their favorite post of mine from this year.  Curious as to which one they picked?  See it here.  Coincidentally, it was made with another one of Sheena's sets.  And, if you click on the "here", and leave a comment and follow the other instructions, you'll have a chance to win my favorite stamp set -- Sheena's Silhouette Grasses.  Notice a trend?  I love Sheena's designs!

I'll be leaving the design team at the end of December.  It has been great getting to use the wonderful designs and products from Crafter's Companion.  I'll miss it, but I know the new design team members will be awesome!

December 16, 2012

Serene Honey Locust Leaf

OK, so I don't know if this image is really a honey locust or not...it actually reminds me of a fern...but I love it.  It is from Sheena's A Little Bit Sketchy Autumn Leaves set.

I needed to make a masculine birthday card for a co-worker, and this image worked marvelously.  I started with confetti tan card stock, and embossed the image in white embossing powder using Versamark ink.  This was die cut in an oval, with a white scalloped oval mat, and set aside.

Next I did the background.  I used Versamark ink and clear embossing powder on the tan card stock.  It gives a nice subtle raised watermark or tone-on-tone look.  This was layered on to a white mat, and then on to a folded A2 tan card base.

I adhered the oval image just a bit higher than center.  The Happy Birthday image is raised and adds nice dimension.  It is from the Beatrix Potter Two Bad Mice "Appley Dapply" 3D Toppers.  The color coordinated beautifully.

As a finishing touched I wrapped some thin twine (from the hardware store, LOL) around the spine.  I tied on two coordinating beads.  Since I'm handing it to the recipient at work, I didn't have to worry about the added bulk of the beads for mailing.

Twenty minutes from start to finish -- you can't beat that!  Hope you enjoyed it.

December 9, 2012

Snowy Scene - Mary Arden's House

The Timeless Britain collection by Mike Goss for ArtKure is one of my favorite lines from Crafter's Companion.  I love his detailed images. But, sometimes that very same detail can also be a bit daunting as well -- if you are in a hurry or if you don't like to color.  So I'd like to show you how the beauty of these images can stand on their own -- all I did was add a touch of glitter.

I used the Mary Arden's House image as my focal point, stamping it in black ink on to vanilla card stock. Then I die cut it in an oval and die cit a black scalloped mat for it.  Next, I used the clear 3D Crystal Lacquer to cover the roof, the bushes by the stone wall, and the pine trees.  While still wet, I sprinkled it with fine white glitter.  Set this aside to dry.  Here is a close-up image of the house.  Can you see how the crystal lacquer adds a nice raised dimension, in addition to acting as glue for the glitter?

On a large black mat layer, adhere a striped designer paper to the bottom half and an ivory Swiss-dot embossed card stock to the top half, leaving a 1/8" margin of black showing.  I often use a Swiss dot embossing folder to evoke the feeling of snow.  Attach a wide ivory grossgrain ribbon at the seam and tape on the back.  This is then layered on to a folded A2 vanilla card base.

The focal image was mounted using these adhesive foam circles.  I like to do that when layering over ribbon because it raises just enough to avoid having a funny line through the image, and keeps it more secure.

Final touches were a small black bow centered at the bottom of the image, and two small paisleys and pearls in the bottom corners.

Do you like these Art-Kure Timeless Britain images?  Here's another project I had shred back in June, made with another image from this line (Buckland in the Moor) -- it is an altered box done in the same ivory and black color scheme.

December 2, 2012

Elegant Snowflakes

The winter cold becomes a bit more bearable when you can sit in your craft room, all cozy in your jammies, and play with the Ornate Snowflakes set by Sheena Douglass.  I decided to go outside the traditional color spectrum for snowflakes and do an elegant card in black and gold.

I started by embossing the snowflake on to black card stock.  I used a mixture of gold and silver metals.  That was a happy accident when I made this card -- I accidentally mixed gold and silver and poured it back in the bottle -- polluting the entire jar of powder.  I was going to throw it away, but at heart I am frugal, so I tried it -- it looks really cool mixed!   This main image was then die cut in a circle and matted on to a larger brushed gold circle.

The background is simply black card stock embossed in a medallion design.  I tied a big bow in sheer gold organza ribbon about an inch from the bottom.  Then I adhered the focal image with dimensionals.  This was layered on to an A2 card base of brushed gold.

This was so quick to make that I made a small matching tag.

This card is intended for my manager's birthday -- hope she likes it!

November 25, 2012

Autumn Maple Leaf

I think this Autumn Leaves set by Sheena Douglass is my new favorite set.  I'm sorry to see autumn end and with it occasions to use it.  It is really versatile -- I even used it on a wedding card!

I started by using a few brayered backgrounds in autumn tones that I had dome in a big batch a few weeks ago.  I spritzed them with stamp cleaner (yes, stamp cleaner!) and got the water drop look.  You can do this even if the backgrounds have dried for several days.

On one, I heat embossed the maple leaf with copper embossing powder.  This was trimmed and layered on to an olive green mat, and then on to a black mat.

The second background was layered on to a black mat.  The next step was to use three copper brads in the lower right.  (Tip:  use a paper piercer and hole template to keep the brads straight and evenly spaced.)  Finally this was mounted on to a rust A2 card base.

Simple - but striking.  Hope you enjoyed it!

November 18, 2012

Baby's Best Friend

I'm loving the new S.W.A.L.K Pawfect Pals set, Pedigree Chum.  Isn't it wonderful?

The image of the dog and baby made me feel homey and cozy -- so I chose a crazy quilt background paper to carry that feeling through.  I used the warm golden brown, teal and burgundy tones as I colored with my Spectrum Noir markers.  I edged the image all around with IG1 grey to shadow it.

I layered the image on a dark green mat, and then blanket stitched in golden yellow embroidery floss around the edges.  This stitching echoes the stitching in the background paper.  (Tip:  Use a paper piercer and hole punch template to help get more even spacing for your stitching.) This was then layered on to a burgundy mat with dimensional foam circles.

Meanwhile, I prepped a folded 5.5 inch square card base in tan.  I layered the background paper on to a square burgundy mat which then went on to the card base.

Final assembly included mounting the focal image and adding some buttons in tan, burgundy and teal green.  I "faux-sewed" the buttons with the same embroidery floss as the stitching.  I adhered them with glue dots -- I tried hard not to have them in a straight line; once again I was emulating the crazy quilt feel.

I had a lot of fun making this card.  Hope you enjoyed it!

November 16, 2012

Mallard and Mill

I made this card at a 3 day stamping retreat in October, hosted by Peddler's Den.  It was held in Yorkville, IL, and the focus was on Stampscapes (although you were free to create with anything you'd like!).

I stamped the mallard duck in the foreground, masked it, and then added the mill, rocks and trees in the background,  The color is a combination of Spectrum Noir markers and stippling with Marvy inks.  I highlighted the white on the duck with a white gel pen.  The final touch was autumn Flowersoft on the trees and reflections in the water.

I did a simple black mat and mounted it on to a folded 5.5 inch tan card base.

This card is destined for my friend Trena's birthday.  She is a fellow Stampscapes fan and I figured she would appreciate it.

November 14, 2012

Autumn Wedding

Here's an autumn wedding card that uses Sheena Douglass' Autumn Leaves set.  I kept the color scheme to ivory and metallic.

I started with a purchased card base that already had the trellis die cut on the right.  I then heat embossed in gold the fern-looking leaves in a right angle on the bottom left.  On scraps of SU Confetti Cream card stock, I heat embossed several leaves, some in gold and some in copper.  

Then I cut (and cut) out the leaves.  I arranged them in a spray radiating out from the bottom left corner.  A purchased paper rose anchors the corner.  Everything is adhered with glue dots.

I heat embossed the greeting (from the retired SU set, Elegant Greetings) in golds, and die cut it with my oval Nestabilities.  I layered this on to an oval mat of SU Brushed Gold card stock.

Finishing touches were tiny coppery-brown pearls at the intersection of the trellis.  Hope you enjoyed it!

November 11, 2012

Embossed Wildflowers

Hello!  Today I have a pair of embossed wildflower cards to share with you.  I really love silhouette stamps, because they are typically so easy to work with and give dramatic results in a short time.  The Silhouette Grasses set by Sheena Douglass is a perfect example.

I started with brayered backgrounds (which is another tip if you need a quick but dramatic card).  One I brayed in apricot and pink; the other in blue and greens on to a coated semi-gloss card stock..

Next I stamped the sentiments in black.  I did the sentiments first; that way if they turned out crooked I didn't waste a lot of time!

Then, I shadow stamped the wildflowers - one in a pinkish-plum and the other in turquoise.   When that dried (give a little extra time on coated card stock), I stamped the wildflowers a bit lower down with Versamark ink, and sprinkled with silver embossing powder.  Use your heat tool to melt it.  The shadow effect is an easy way to add depth.

I'll let you in on le booboo that I made.  I accidentally sprinkled some gold powder on to the turquoise card. I decided I liked it and went with the flow.  In fact if I did it again, I would be more liberal with an intentional mixed metal look!

I finished the cards simply with a black mat and then mounted them on to coordinating folded A2 card bases.  Enjoy!

November 4, 2012

Snowflake bookmarks

Here are three bookmarks that I made with Sheena's A Little Bit Scenic Ornate Snowflakes set.  Sometimes I like to give people tags or bookmarks instead of a traditional Christmas card - and these are sized to slip in to a legal sized envelope along with my annual Christmas letter.

These were quick and easy, and done with emboss resist.  I started with white coated card stock (use glossy or semi-gloss to help the ink blend when stippling).  Then, using Versamark ink and clear embossing powder, stamp your snowflakes and the swirl design up and down the bookmark.  Avoid going in a straight line, and try to have some go off the edges.  Use your heat tool to melt the embossing powder.

Your next step is to use any water-based dye ink and a stipple brush and stipple color around the snowflakes, going from dark to light as you work outwards.  I used two coordinating colors on each, for example, pink and lavender  red and rose; light blue and darker blue.  Be sure and leave some white space as contrast. Then take a tissue and wipe excess ink off of the embossed snowflakes, revealing the white underneath.  That's the resist part.

Finishing touches were to round the corners and thread ribbon and fibers of your choice.

Try it -- these are surprisingly quick and easy!  These would be equally as pretty done for Spring with Sheena's Silhouette Grasses set that has those gorgeous wildflowers.

October 31, 2012

Peaceful Wildflowers

Today I'm sharing a soft, peaceful card that I made with Sheena's A Little Bit Scenic Silhouette Grasses. I used it as a sympathy card for a coworker who had recently lost her grandmother.  This design gave me just the serene feeling I was looking for.

I pulled out my brayer again and used different shades of green on coated card stock.  After the ink dried, I used the large wildflower image and heat embossed it in white.  I layered this on to an embossed white mat, and then on to a folded A2 moss green card base.

I added a sympathy greeting from my collection; punched with an oval and matted it on a scalloped oval.  This was adhered with dimensionals.  The final touch was narrow white ribbon tied along the fold.

October 28, 2012

Wildflower Sunrise

Today I'm sharing a sunrise wildflower card that I made with Sheena's A Little Bit Scenic Silhouette Grasses.

I started by brayering in shades of pale yellow and apricot on coated card stock.  (How long has it been since you dusted off your brayer?  It is great for quick, easy backgrounds.) After the ink dried, I used the large wildflower image and heat embossed it in black.  I layered this on to a black mat, and then on to a folded A2 apricot card base.

The greeting is from the Mulberry Woods Friend set.  I thought that it went with the wildflower image perfectly.  I stamped it, then scanned it to reduce the font to fit better in to my design layout.  I love it when I can mix and match sets like that!  Then I oval-punched it, and sponged lightly before layering on a pale yellow oval scalloped mat.

The punched butterflies were added as a finishing touch to add some motion and dimension.  Can you see that the large butterfly was punched from a scrap of polished stone paper?  A few rhinestones and they were done.  Tip:  when adding accents like this, usually odd numbers work best, unless your design is formal and symmetrical.

Hope you enjoyed it!

October 21, 2012

Flower Power Puppy

Today I'm sharing a 5.5" square card using the new "Friend" set from the Everyday in Mulberry Wood line.

I started by stamping the image in black ink on to white card stock.  I colored him with my Spectrum Noir markers, and then die cut him with a large circle.  I die cut a scalloped circle in turquoise as the mat.

Next I shifted gears to the card base, which was a folded 5.5 card in saffron yellow.  I prepped the next two layers of the 5" square flowered designer paper matted on a 5.25" square of pumpkin card stock.

I then ran ribbon through two slot-punched openings in the circle.  I used saffron grosgrain and rust colored rick rack from my stash.  A friend who sews gave me a bunch of leftover pieces of rickrack and it is fun working them in to designs.  After adhering dimensionals behind the circle, I taped the ends of the ribbon to the back of the pumpkin layer.  Finally this was all adhered to the base folded card with glue dots.

Final touches were an oval punched greeting accented by a turquoise flower and pumpkiny-orange brad.  (Tip on the greeting:  I stamped it regular size, then scanned it and shrunk in in Word to better fit in to my small oval punch.)  The greeting itself is from the Birthday Wishes set.

Because it is a large square card, I made a coordinating envelope to go with it using the Envelobox Creator.  Just start with a 8.25" square piece of paper and score all four sides at "G" on the tool.  So easy!

Even though it is floral, I think the colors make it perfect for a cheery autumn birthday card.  Hope you enjoyed it!

October 14, 2012

Autumn Leaves

Today I'd like to share with you a card made with Sheena Douglass' Paint Fusion "Ivy" set.

I started by heat embossing the ivy spray in black on to confetti cream card stock.  Then, I heat embossed two extra large leaves and two extra small leaves.

To color, I misted the leaves very lightly with water, and then applied ink with a watercolor brush.  I kept the palette mainly to autumnal tones of oranges, rusts, and red.  When dry, I cut out the extra leaves.  I used gold Smooch to add some shiny highlights.  Once colored, I think the leaves look like autumn maple leaves, not ivy.  I love versatility like that in a set!

The greeting is from another great set from Sheena, "Milestones and Moments".  I used a circle die cut to cut the greeting, dry emboss it, and layer it on to a larger black circle.  This was then glued to the card front to the right of the ivy spray.  I then layered this on to a rust mat, and then on to a cream A2 top-folded card base.

The final touch was positioning the extra cut out leaves with dimensionals.  Be sure to overlap the leaves on to the greeting circle for cohesion.  I am really pleased with how it turned out; it was fairly quick and easy; and it's the perfect autumn card for any number of occasions.

October 7, 2012

Distressed Destination

I loved this Destination image from Sheena's A Little Bit Sketchy line ever since I saw the beautiful cards that stampin' sister and fellow design team member Trena was making with it this summer. To make it my own, I did heavier distressing and added twine and beads.

A little back story.  I have a colleague, Kate, at work who has been working on a major project for about 18 months.  Tonight, we deploy.  (In fact I'm writing this as we wait at 2:00 am for the OK from IT to go in and test it and give the final green light.)  Throughout the whole time, she kept focus despite all the windstorms that threatened to throw the project ship off course.  I thought this card was destined for her.

First I stamped the image in black on to white card stock.  I used walnut ink (you dissolve the crystals in water; more water gives a less intense brown) to heavily sponge the edges.  Since it is a liquid, it tends to soak in and spread, giving a more saturated, vintage feel.  I then used my Spectrum Noir alcohol markers to shade pale grey on the sails, and tan on the land where the walnut stain hadn't hit.  A touch of grey-blue defined the ocean shore.

I distressed the edges and layered it on to a white mat, also distressed.  Because the walnut ink was so dark, I wanted the white for a bright contrast. This was then mounted on a side-fold A2 tan card base.

To finish it off, I added twine around the left fold, and beads, including some rolled paper beads that I made from scraps cut into long thin triangle shapes.  (Yes, I save my scraps, LOL).  I frayed the edges of the twine, and it was done!

September 30, 2012

Faith Bird at Dawn

Today I am using the Faith Bird image from the lovely Stamp-It Discovery collection.  And I decided to use it along with the watercolor background technique that I shared last week.
 My first step was to heat emboss the bird image onto a watercolor background, to simulate dawn as the beautiful words reference.  I used detail black embossing powder.  Can I tell you a story about the background?  I was stamping with friends a few weeks ago and we were all trying our hand at the watercolor technique.  One of the ladies, Carol, was frustrated and thought that hers did not turn out well.  She threw it away.  Well, being as frugal as I am, I fished it out of the trash can and said, at least some flowers or leaves could be punched from it.

Anyway, it sat on my craft table a few weeks.  Part of it had very nice color -- and the faith bird image is not that large -- so I used it!  I love how it turned out.  And I did use the sections where the color was not as nice to punch the accent leaves!  So the moral is, never throw anything away, LOL!

I then used my oval die cut to cut the image.  On a quarter sheet of moss green card stock, I used the Darice Leafy Branch embossing folder for more background texture. (Have you seen all embossing folders that Crafter's Companion carries now?  They have some amazing square sizes too!)  The oval image was adhered to the moss green background, and then on to a black mat, and finally on to a folded A2 cream card base.  You may have noticed that I use black mats a lot -- I think they really give great contrast and set off a design.

The final touch was to punch leaves from the watercolored 'discard' paper and arrange them in a gently falling pattern.  The hardest part of this card was getting those random falling leaves "just so"!  Hope you enjoyed this, and see you next week.

September 23, 2012

Pine Tree and Watercolor Sky

Can I tell you how much I love this asymmetrical pine tree image from Sheena Douglass' Pinescapes set?  It is bold, yet has enough open space to let backgrounds shine through.  Plus, it can really stand on its own for clean and simple cards.

I started with watercolor paper, and spritzed it with water to get it wet.  I then used an aqua pen and reinker drops to add the colors, working from the bottom up with tan, green, lavender, pink and blue. 

If your colors aren't "runny" enough, squeeze the aqua pen for more water; if too runny you may need to blot it.  My paper was pretty soggy when I was done.  I let it dry overnight.

The next step was to use Versamark ink and black embossing powder and heat emboss the pine tree image.

Then, this was layered on to a black mat and then on to a folded A2 moss green card base.

That's it!  No ribbon, no embellishments, no glitter (ack!).  Just let the image and the colors in the background do the talking.  When I know what occasion it'll be used for, I'll probably add a small greeting in the bottom right corner.

September 19, 2012

Shimmery Butterflies and Other Cards

Had fun on Friday night at hostess club with my SU! demo, Jo Bengtsen, and all the lovely, chatty ladies in the club.  Here are the lovely cards we made.

I especially loved the watercolor background on the butterfly card.  Here's a closer look at it.  Was thinking how stunning this would be done in autumn watercolors, with falling leaves in place of the butterflies.

We spritzed shimmer paper with water to moisten it, and then used a water pen to drop reinker for the "runny" effect.  Everyone's turned out differently -- but they were all lovely.

I think next time, I'll emboss the greeting so that it stands out a bit more, and I need to practice my "doodle trail" for the butterflies path. 

September 16, 2012

Patchwork Snowman

Remember last week I did a quilted background for my stocking buddies card?  Well, I had so much fun with the quilting that I decided to use that technique again this week.  Except for this card, which uses Sheena's A Little Bit Festive "Happy Snowman" set, the quilt is the sky.

I started by making the quilted sky.  I chose various shades of blue, and used a 3/4 inch punch so that I could get smaller squares for more variation in design.  There's no discernible pattern here, just lots of blue paper arranged somewhat randomly.  I trimmed the quilt layer down and mounted it on a black mat, which then was layered on to a folded A2 card base in a saffron yellow.

Next, I stamped the snowman image in black ink onto white card stock, and colored it with my Spectrum Noir alcohol markers.  I stamped the 'Let it Snow' greeting along the bottom.  Then, I cut out the image and liberally applied fine glitter to the rooftops and the snowman.  I love winter scenes, they are a perfect excuse for glitter.  :-)

I was going to glue it on top of the quilted sky.  But it didn't look right, the image faded away with the busy-ness of the quilt.  Hmmmm, what to do for a rescue?

What the card needed was  a visual separation of sorts.  I dug out some white mulberry paper and did a guided tear along the line of the rooftops and the snowman.  Much better!  I mounted this with dimensionals for a bit of a 3D effect.

Final touches were small black dew drops for the buttons and eyes, and blue dew drops that are supposed to be snowflakes, in the sky.  Here's a closer look.

Hope you enjoyed it!  Have you started your Christmas cards yet?

September 9, 2012

Quilted Stocking Buddies

You know how sometimes the image itself dictates the design?  That's what happened with me and the  "Waiting for Santa" stocking image from the new Strawberry Kisses Christmas line.  The stocking looked quilted and homespun, so I decided to go with a quilted background and carry that feeling throughout the card.

Quilted backgrounds are nothing more than pieced paper, and are a lot of fun to do.  Also they are great to use up paper scraps, or paper that is a little bit out of style.  Years ago I had bought a huge slab of Christmas designer paper and still had most of it left.  So I dug in and punched one inch squares from four coordinating papers.  The plus side is that it makes you feel very virtuous to be using up those old supplies!  (Tip:  you can cut the squares on your cutter, but it sure is faster and more consistent to use a square punch.)

You can Google quilt designs for pattern ideas.  This one is fairly simple, using squares and triangles.  Time saving tip -- you really only have to "quilt" the edges because the middle usually gets covered up.  A mixture of patterns and solids usually works well. I ran the solid squares through my trusty Swiss Dot embossing folder for texture.  Then just start gluing down on the mat layer (in my case burgundy), starting 1/8" away from both corner edges and working square to square  The quilted layer was then adhered to a 5.5 inch top folded white card base.

Once I had my background done, I colored my image with Spectrum Noir markers to match.  Then I mounted that with a very narrow 1/16 inch border on to blue.  I felt that if I used olive green or burgundy it wouldn't stand out enough from the quilt background.

Final touches were applying tulip snow for the fur on the stocking, and faux-sewing 4 buttons and using glue dots to adhere -- three in the upper left and one on the greeting (which I scanned and shrunk to fit my small oval punch).  I deliberately used white buttons and white thread because although I wanted the homespun feel and added interest, I didn't want all those buttons to compete with the focal point or even the background.

I used a fifth coordinating designer paper to make the envelope.  It is so easy to make custom-sized envelopes with the Envelobox Creator.  For an envelope to fit my 5.5 inch square card, I started with an 8.25 square piece of paper and scored at row G on all sides.  That was it!  Another great way to whittle down that slab of paper, and it removes the reluctance that I used to have to make these large square cards, for fear that I didn't have an envelope to fit.

Hope you enjoyed today's card!

September 2, 2012

Pine Tree and Misty Hills

Sometimes you see a stamp image and you know exactly how you are going to use it.  When I saw this great asymmetrical pine tree from Sheena's A Little Bit Scenic Pinescapes set, I knew I was going to make a hilly background.  You see, at my old job, there was a conference room that maybe twenty years ago was an executive conference room, but over the years had turned in to an "anybody can reserve it" room.  The decor was dated from its glory days in the 80's, but I always loved a fiber wall hanging of misty layered hills that was on the wall.  Time after time I said to myself, "That would make a great card!".  Well, I've since retired from there and now work at another company (yup, I know -- a very short lived retirement), but finally I used the inspiration from the fiber wall hanging to make a card.  And I am just thrilled with the result!

This is nothing more than using torn paper as a mask and stippling color on.  (You could also sponge -- it would be faster but I think you get less control and I usually get those pesky fingernail blotches when I sponge.)  The tip is to use the darkest color in the foreground and gradually lighten it with each successive layer of hill in the background. 

I used mostly Tim Holtz' Distress inks, and used black soot in the foreground, but not so very black as to obliterate the black pine tree, and then faded through shades of brown (walnut stain and vintage photo).  Another tip is to use clean torn paper for each layer, so you don't get stray ink residue.  I tell you this because that happened to me.  A gum eraser removed most of it -- can you find the spot? ;-) .  I did a reverse circle mask for the moon with a post it note, and used the lightest ink color (Stampin' Up's River Rock) and a smaller stipple brush to darken the edges so you get the illusion of the moon.

It was matted on to a black layer, and then on to a 6x8 invitation card with a gold band (a no-fold panel).  I think they are really meant for do-it-yourself wedding invitations but it worked great for this.  I added absolutely no embellishment, not even glitter on the moon.  It was hard to restrain myself, but I wanted it to be stark and unadorned, like the pine image itself.

A torn paper mask is one of the simplest techniques, and can give great results.  Enjoy!

August 26, 2012

Cross-stitched Poppet

Isn't the new Paintbox Poppets Winter Collection by Christine Haworth too sweet?  I really like the nostalgic feel to these images.  Today I decided to use the Yuletide Logs set.

For a change, I picked out my background paper first.  I had a big slab of Christmas paper and I decided to use it.  So, I used my Spectrum Noir alcohol-ink markers to color the poppet's dress to coordinate in shades of moss, olive, rose red and pale blue.  (You'll understand why I used blue when you see the envelope.)  I used my oval die to cut and emboss, and then cut a scalloped oval from rose red for the layer.

Before adhering the layers, I hand-stitched with white embroidery floss.  I did cross stitches along the left side of the oval; satin stitched the hat's pompom; and tied a little white bow on her vest.  Use a piercing tool and a template for even stitches.

The stitched image was then adhered to the red scalloped layer.  This went on to a dry embossed white layer (doesn't this embossing folder remind you of a knit Norwegian sweater?), then on to the patterned paper, then layered on olive, and finally on to a folded white card base.  

Inside, I used coordinating paper and mounted the greeting on a moss scallop-punched oval.  The final touch was a coordinating envelope made with the Envelobox Creator.  It is so easy to make coordinating envelopes, and doesn't even take a full sheet of paper!

Hope you enjoyed today's card.  Have you started your Christmas cards yet?  ;-)

August 19, 2012

Winter Panda Bears

Today I have a card done with a new set, "Winter Wonderland", from the fun Christmas in Mulberry Wood line from Crafter's Companion.

I decided to make my bears Panda's, although what Pandas are doing in the snow, I'm not really sure.  But in my craft room, imagination is allowed :-)

First, I stamped the image and greeting in black ink on to white card stock.  Then I colored with my Spectrum Noir markers. I liked the way that fellow Design Team member Taylor colored the winter trees blue on her recent card here.  

I layered the main umage on to black to draw out the black in the Pandas.  I scalloped the edge of this layer and added an assortment of blue polka dot and black gingham ribbon.  This was then layered onto blue patterned paper which I also punched with a fancier scallop.  This went on to a top-folded white card base.

I decided to reprise the scallops a third time, on the bottom opening edge of the card.  I added some rhinestone snowflakes and some tiny rhinestones under the bottom scallop flap and it was done!

Hope you enjoy it and have a happy Sunday!

August 12, 2012

Country Lane

Love, love, love this set by Sheena Douglass.  It's called Milestones and Moments.   I was inspired by this great card that my stampin' sister Trena had made for me when I retired in January.  It was a short-lived retirement; I'm back at work with a new company, and I needed a card for a colleague who was moving to a new job and this image seemed perfect.

I stamped in Versamark ink on confetti cream paper, and used detail black embossing powder.  I chose the off-white color to match the lattice-edged card base.  (Yes, sometimes I do think ahead, LOL!)  I used my watercolor crayons because this scenic image was just asking for a soft, flowing touch.  I like to emboss the image when I watercolor, because it creates little raised edges that keep the colors from bleeding too much.  When I use the water color crayons, I color along the edges and draw the pigment inward with a wet brush.  This gives you gradation of color without over-thinking it.  When you do trees, be sure to mix the greens for a more realistic look.

I layered the image on to a black mat, and adhered this to the card base.  I stamped the greeting in black and used a large oval punch and attached it with dimensionals.

For a finishing touch, I put tiny black rhinestones on the greeting and at the intersection of the lattice.

Hope it inspires you to try water coloring an image.

August 11, 2012

Birthday Blog Hop Winner

And the winner for my giveaway for the Crafter's Companion Birthday Blog Hop is:  AJ Scrapbooking and Cards

Congrats to AJ!

AJ, please email me (stampinmarge@yahoo.com) your mailing address so that we can send you your prixe, the cute Popcorn Bear Party Time stamp set.

August 6, 2012

Happy Birthday to Crafter's Companion!

It's Crafter's Companion fifth birthday, and we are celebrating with a CC Design Team blog hop!  The hop runs August 6 - 10.  Crafter's Companion is generously giving away a $100 gift card as the grand prize!  I'm also giving away a Popcorn the Bear birthday-themed stamp set!  Instructions for both are at the end of this post.

If you reached my blog, that means you came from Lisa Hunt's, and after me you will go to Stacy's.

I wanted to make Crafter's Companion a birthday card to celebrate.  I chose Popcorn the Bear and he's bringing an armful of daisies as a birthday gift from the Thanks a Bunch set.  Isn't this little bear adorable? 

I started by stamping in black ink on to white card stock.  I colored him with my Spectrum Noir markers.  Then, I layered him onto mossy green card stock.   

At that point, I embellished with hand stitching in yellow embroidery floss and lots of subtle white French knots. I used a hole piercer and template to keep the spacing even.  This was then layered onto cheerful yellow polka dot paper, and then on to a folded white card base.  The finished card is 5.5 x 5.5 inches.
Inside, I put a Happy Birthday greeting, layered in to a mossy green scalloped mat.  I reprised the stitching theme from the front of the card with yellow cross stitches.
  OK, now the rules to win prizes:
  1. You need to be a follower of my blog
  2. You need to be a follower of the Crafter's Companion blog
  3. You need to leave a comment on this post
  4. You need to find the secret letter on each Design Team member's blog that spells out a secret phrase.  HINT:  My secret letter is "W"
  5. You need to be a US resident
When you have visited all the blogs in order and collected all the letters for the secret phrase, email the phrase to Bindy at bindy@crafterscompanion.com .  When the blog hop is over, Bind will select by random number generator the grand prize winner of the $100 gift card.

I'll select the winner for my blog's give-away (the Popcorn the Bear birthday stamp set) by random number generator from those who have left a comment here, and post the winner's name here on August 11th.  Be sure to check back to give me your mailing address if you are the winner (or have your email in your profile so I can contact you).